Friday, 27 March 2009

News from the step-world

Being pregnant and hormonal and somewhat self-absorbed, I haven't spoken about the stepkids for ages. Being teenagers and hormonal and somewhat self-absorbed, their reactions to the baby news has been all about how they feel this will directly affect them. Tiger seems most excited and talks about it constantly when he's with us. He hopes it's a boy so her can teach him to play golf, if its a girl he doubts he'll have much to do with it. Batman seems a bit more ambivalent, but I think that is probably to be expected since he will be 19 when bub is born. His mother says he is upset and worried about it but he has recently started spending one night a week at our house because, in his words, he wants to spend more time with us.

Rosie is the one who concerns me the most. She started at a new school this year and found the initial adjustment very difficult. She was very anxious the first few weeks and not eating or sleeping well. The new school is a religious one, so during a pastoral class the students were asked how they were feeling about the new school year, at which point Rosie burst into tears. The school acted very quickly and she has been having regular sessions with the school counsellor ever since. After that first session she said to DH "I told them EVERYTHING Dad".

The counsellor rang DH a few weeks ago and told him about her discussions with Rosie. Apparently Rosie has spoken of her concern that the baby will take our attentions away from her, that she loves DH and I and would prefer to live with us but fears her mother's reaction. We knew all of this but the level of concern the counsellor had for Rose's safety at her mother's house was a bit of a shock. Rose talked alot about the level of violence in the house and her fear of her mother's boyfriend has them worried. DH asked the counsellor if they were concerned about sexual abuse, because that seemed to be what she was tip-toeing around, and she said that was a concern that the school was taking very seriously.

Obviously I am thankful that the school is aware there are issues at home, so they can keep a close eye on her, and she has an objective adult to talk to about any problems. But I am concerned though that they think there may be a sexual nature to her fear of Loser Boyfriend.

As a child victim myself and former child protection worker, I maintain that the child must always be believed so it would be totally different if Rosie accused Loser Boyfriend of anything sexual, which she has not. But still it goes against my grain to say what I am about to say.... Rosie is a drama queen, and, just like her mother, she likes people to think she has a hard life and to feel sorry for her. It has becoming increasingly difficult for us to sort the truth from the chaff in most conversations with her. She lies to us a lot and some of her bullshit is just so fanciful we have to laugh. I know her mother has the same issues. I defy anyone with a teenage girl to say her daughter doesn't lie to her. It's just the nature of the beast.

I think she is being honest that she is scared of Loser Boyfriend when he is drunk, but I think that perhaps she has exaggerated how bad things are at home. If it was that bad and she was that frightened, surely she would come live with us? DH and I have done everything in our power to make this a possibility for her.

I'm not so old that I don't remember life as a teenage girl. The raging hormones, the changing body, the belief that other girls are always looking at you and judging you. That insane need to be accepted, to conform, to be considered normal when in your mind you think you are anything but. Desperately wanting to be attractive to boys, to be loved, but terrified of what that means. I was shocked when I dropped Rosie at school last week that 4 out of 5 girls had the exact same haircut - dead straight, far side part, covering at least one eye. Rosie has gorgeous, naturally curly hair - no wonder it takes her over an hour to get ready - she has to hide each one of those pesky non-conformist curls! I wouldn't want to be a teenager again for anything in the world.

As much as I try to empathise with her, I must admit she is starting to piss me off. Everything about the baby is negative at the moment for Rosie (although it's always possible I am being overly sensitive?). We have conversations like;
R: "Mum says that the baby will affect me the most because I won't be the youngest anymore"
ME: "Excuse me if this sounds selfish at all, but I think that it might actually affect ME the most"
R: (laughing) "Oh yeah, I hadn't thought of that"

R: "I don't want my bedroom to be near the baby's, I don't want to hear it crying"
R: "Little kids really annoy me"
R: "Doesn't your stomach hurt? It looks REALLLY painful"

R: "Have you always wanted to have a child?"
ME: "Yes, but I have a problem with my ovaries and thought that I couldn't have children"
R: "So this baby is like, a miracle"
ME "YES! So treat it with the respect it deserves and stop being such a selfish little twat!"
(ok, so maybe I didn't actually say that last bit... but by god I wanted to!)

DH wants for things to remain the same as much as possible for the kids, and I understand where he's coming from... but, you know, a new baby is a huge change, I don't see how (or why) we can protect them from that. Isn't there a saying "The only constant in life is change"? I think the kids are just going to have to adapt. I can see a future where baby and I are the ones making all the concessions, tip-toeing around the older kids so we don't disturb them, even though we are the ones who actually live here. Frankly, it scares me and it's keeping me awake at night.

Friday, 13 March 2009

20 week scan

Look s'hes blowing bubbles!

The anatomy scan apparently went well yesterday. I say apparently because we had one of those sonographers who don't like to reveal too much. She did loads of measurements and said everything looked fine, and the doctor (who poked her head in for all of about 3 seconds) said the results looked great. We just have to take their word for it because it mostly made no sense to us. We were just smitten by our unborn baby's swimming prowess (note to self: find olympic coach immediately). Move over Thorpedo, here comes.... umm... unborn baby who doesn't have a name yet.

S'he was head down and bum up for most of the scan, arms flailing and little legs frog-kicking up a storm. DH asked me 'How can you not feel that?' Ahhh, but I wish I could.... We saw he'r mouth opening and closing, and blood pumping through the four chambers of the heart and the umbilical cord. It really is quite surreal.

We already know the sex of the baby (from the amnio) but this was one of the very few things the sonographer did point out to us. We also got to hear the heart beat for the first time which was absolutely fabulous. I hope that is on the dvd. A page of stats flashed briefly on the screen at the end of the scan, and I saw a couple of things were measuring at 16 weeks gestation but did not see what they were, the rest seemed to be around 18-19 weeks. Remind me to ask the OB to go through the entire results with me at our next appointment.

Speaking of the Ob, at 20 weeks we are expected to make a payment of $2,000, with another $1,000 due at 30 weeks, neither of which cover the cost of the actual birth. I guess that will teach me for going private instead of using the public system. Perhaps, instead of swimming, we should encourage bub into something more lucrative - like tennis or golf, or American Football (only if its a boy I promise). Maybe acting if its a girl, DH is a redhead and I am very pale, and red headed Australian actresses with porcelain skin do seem to do quite well......

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Belly shot

I have always been terribly un-photogenic, but this was an especially bad photo of me. I considered telling you that I cropped off my head for reasons of anonymity, but the truth is it was just vanity. And besides, I didn't upload this photo to show you my face anyway.

This was taken last weekend at 19 weeks. My 2 closest girlfriends and I went away for 5 days to celebrate our 40th birthdays (although mine is still not for another few months). We had a ball cruising around wineries, doing touristy things and just chilling together. Both friends have young kids so we were up early everyday and did loads of walking. On the plane home on Monday my feet had blown up to the size of footballs and I felt so exhausted I was close to tears when DH picked me up. I slept most of Tuesday and am home from work again today. Slacker. Who knew that growing a human being inside you would be so tiring?!

I adore my friends and they have tried to support me through the last few years of bullshit (only missing the mark a few times). They are so excited for me now and are suddenly a lot more inclusive. I was rarely invited to kids parties and they get together quite a bit without me, but now there's even talk of family weekends away. I'm not sure if I should be insulted or just pleased to finally "fit in" with them again. Actually, I choose to accept it and be happy because I promised DH I would not allow myself to become bitter about what infertility took from us for so long.

I have my 20 week anatomy scan tomorrow and can't wait. I am starting to feel some movements but due to the anterior placenta they are fairly few and far between so it will be great to check on bub tomorrow. I hope s'he has recovered from the weekend.